Women’s History Month lecture series at Southeastern Louisiana University

Since October of 2014, our YAL chapter at Southeastern Louisiana University has been collaborating with the Department of History and Political Science to host this years Women’s History Month Lecture Series.

Tabling

The topic we wanted to tackle was feminism. In these changing times, there are many women in America who embrace the growing trend of “Anti-feminism” because they believe in general that all feminists today are collectively lumped together as “feminazis.” To clarify, “feminazis” believe in marginalizing men and changing the social order to favor women. Radical, liberal, and multicultural feminists (to name a few of the different camps of feminism) believe in attaining equality across the board for men and women but want to go about it in different ways.

We were eager to attempt to correct this misunderstanding of the term with our fellow students. As a result, our pitch to Dr. Robison, who is the current Department Head of History and Political Science, and our faculty advisor Dr. Traylor, was to define feminism, but make being a feminist a continuum and to also depolarize what feminism means in popular culture.

Turnout

Our chapter’s role in the event included speaking with professors who were interested and available for lecturing on the specifics of our topic of feminism, reserving available space for the lectures, distributing flyers and sending out emails to students and professor to advertise the approaching event, and tabling every Monday throughout the month of March to promote that particular weeks’s lecture and to showcase our chapter involvement as host for the series.

Anna Cleves poster

On March 2 we kicked off with tabling for Dr. Robison’s lecture “Why isn’t Anne of Cleves Ugly: female beauty, film, and suspension of disbelief from ‘The Private Life of Henry VIII’ to ‘The Tutors'”. We were able to get over 25 signups from interested students regarding the event details and our chapter. March 3 was Dr. Robison’s lecture at which I had the honor of introducing him and our chapter to the students. We also announced the upcoming lectures occurring later in the month. The turnout was great and the lecture was fascinating.

Mag girls

Our next lecture on March 11 follows Dr. Margaret Gonzales-Perez, Professor of Political Science, who will talk about “The Magdalene Girls: where unwed mothers – including victims of rape and incest – were kept in virtual slavery in Ireland since 1996”.

On March 18 Dr. Carol Madere from the Department of Languages and Communication and Dr. Debbie Johnson from the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences will discuss “American Fashion and the Woman Who Made It Fashionable,” regarding Eleanor Lamber, the first female fashion publicist.

Silence

On March 25 we have Ms. Tara Mann, Professor of Criminal Justice, discussing recent events in America relating to women with her lecture titled “Violence and Silence: Misogyny, #yesallwomen, and Anita Sarkeesian”. And finally, on April 1 we have Dr. Natasha Whitton, professor of English, talking about “Shades of Gray in Fifty Shades of Grey: Erotica, Literature, or Fan Fiction?”

There are many benefits to us sponsoring a large event on campus. First off, we hope this lecture series brings about new dialogue and understanding about feminism. Second, we hope to gain a stronger foothold as a chapter within our school and already I am seeing results as president being approached daily by students with questions about Young Americans for Liberty. And finally, we hope more women see the parallels with and benefits of libertarianism and reach out to us as an organization.

(A special thanks goes out to Dr. Marc Settembrino, Professor of Sociology here at Southeastern, who specializes in disaster vulnerability and social inequality for his crash course in understanding the different camps of feminism so as to accurately explain the details and purpose of this event.)

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